NYC Dining: Katz’s Delicatessen (UPDATED)

Click Here for Hi-Res Slide Show!

Katz’s Delicatessen Inc
205 E Houston St, New York, NY
(212) 254-2246

Click here if the above video does not display in your browser.

There are certain institutions that for me define a particular dish or a food item — one of these is Katz’s Deli, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. For many of us that live in the NY area, there is currently no other pastrami being served that deserves the level of praises that Katz’s receives. It is also a deli of legend, dating back to the 19th century, and has survived 2 world wars and contributed to the American victory of the second, with its “Send a salami to your boy in the army” campaign and mail order business that that continues to survive this very day.

For many who visit New York City, a Katz Pastrami on Rye is the definitive food item which represents the very best the city has to offer. It is the embodiment of culinary pride in the foods of our Jewish heritage. In my opinion, once you’ve visited Katz, the city becomes a part of you, and you become a little bit Jewish and a little bit New Yorker, no matter where you’re from or how you grew up.

Katz’s storefront on Houston Street.

From the large window facing the street, you can watch the countermen practice their dying art.

Like its pastramis, Katz’s makes its own salamis, hot dogs and sausages.

Don’t read on unless you want to be very, very hungry. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more!

Salami close-up

When entering Katz, its sheer vastness overwhelms you — this is the Jewish Deli to end all Jewish Delis.

A view of the famous table where the “pastramigasm” made movie history. Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhhh.. Ahhhhhhhhh… Yeah I’ll have what’s she’s having.

Of course, Katz isn’t all about pastrami and salami, there’s other great items on the menu. Click on the photo for enlargement.

Take your meal ticket on the way in. Under no circumstances lose it — guard it with your life.

As I said, DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET! Got it? Good.

It’s okay to be a newbie at Katz’s. But don’t be a schnook and order a lean sandwich!

Katz’s walls are lined with photos of celebs and local heroes.

Many of Katz’s countermen have been working at the Deli for many, many years. But still, they have to train new staff, and start them early.

The restaurant is busy at all hours of the day, but the counter is very efficient and it won’t take long for you to complete your order and sit down and eat.

Katz’s is one of the few remaining delis in North America that still slices its pastrami and corned beef by hand. It makes a huge difference in the texture of the resulting sandwich.

Pastrami on Rye, ordered “Juicy”. Don’t order it any other way.

Another view of a “Juicy”.

A “lean” sandwich. The schnook next to me ordered it. I told the counterman to let him try a piece of juicy for comparison, and boy did he regret his ordering decision. For 14 bucks for a sandwich (and if you know what is good for you, tip the counterman an extra $2 while he is slicing your sandwich and you’ll be happier) you had better get your money’s worth!

If the counterman likes you (read above on how to make him like you) he’ll give you some samples to taste. If you want him to dislike you, order a lean sandwich.

Juicy slice closeup.

This slice isn’t burnt, its from one of the smoky ends. The black stuff is the spice rub.

The Dr. Brown’s holy trinity.

Katz has two kinds of pickles, half sour and full sour.

The mail order and take-out salami counter. We’ll get back to this later.

Once you’ve gotten everything at the counter, get yourself settled.

Mmmmm. Now doesn’t that look good?

Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda (behind) is the perfect beverage accompaniment to a pastrami sandwich. Less sweet than ginger ale with a more herbal flavor due to the celery seed spicing, it performs much of the same function as a nice red wine does to clean the palate when eating the spicy, fatty sandwich.

Katz isn’t just about the Pastrami — the brisket sandwich, shown here, is dammned good too.

The cheesesteaks are also excellent as well.

Cheesesteak closeup.

Katz has fantastic hot dogs, but everyone in the know prefers the Knoblewurst, pictured above. Its like a very garlicky kielbasa that has been grilled to the point where its skin becomes crispy, but the inside is still juicy.

Katz’s french fries are also excellent. But don’t bother with the knishes, they’re not great. If you want knishes, go up the block to Yonah Schimmel, which specializes in them.

Chopped Liver.

Chopped liver portion, on rye bread.

Pickles closeup.

The takeout/mail-order counter area.

The mail order/takeout counter does a brisk business.

The price list of takeout/mail order items. Note that the pastrami off this menu is refrigerated, and is “extra lean” because the hot pastrami served at the restaurant cannot be shipped. However, you can take the hot stuff home and order it by the pound, but you have to order it from the sandwich counter. Got it?

I went back to the sandwich counter to get an order of pastrami to take home.

Pastrami for sandwiches for the next day. Just heat up a portion of it on a plate in the microwave for about a minute, that’s all it needs.

You can still “senda” salami to your boy (or girl) in the army or anywhere else.

Slicing up some salami.

Salami to take home. Katz’s fresh made salami is of the harder, denser variety than other Jewish-style salamis, and are left to hang dry for several weeks before they are sold.

A closeup of some beef brisket that was destined for another customer.

Katz’s seltzer dispenser/counter. You don’t see much of these anymore.

The dessert case, which we never have room for!

Bidding the deli goodbye.

Salami and eggs — the morning after.

Salami, Eggs, Mango, OJ, and Nexium. The breakfast of champions.

Katz’s salami is great on sandwiches, but when pan fried it takes on a completely different quality.

79 Responses to NYC Dining: Katz’s Delicatessen (UPDATED)

  1. […] Off the Broiler maven and New York deli fanatic Jason Perlow has just visited Katz’s and posted so many beautiful photos and videos and words on his blog. Start your salivating! CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO PERLOW’S DELI HEAVEN. […]

  2. Melissa says:

    Impressive and comprehensive, your column today from Katz’s, Jason!

    You seem to have tried most of Katz’s specialties and, offered us who read your blog daily, a tantalizing look at a true NY institution, which takes anyone who reads it back to the glory days when deli was king ..

    As always, many thanks for sharing both photographs as well as your comments!

  3. Jon says:

    Katz’s is a real experience. As a child, I visited there frequently with my grandfather, but kind of broke the habit of going as an adult until the past few years.

    The pastrami is an eye opener. For a kid it was kind of intimidating, so I’d never really tried it. Then in the intervening years, having tried vastly inferior pastrami at normal delis, I kind of developed a disgust for it. That is until a few years ago, when I visited Katz’s for the first time in over a decade, and braved the pastrami.

    Unless you’ve been to Montreal, or one of the two or three other places in New York to do decent pastrami, what you see labeled as pastrami at your typical deli counter really bears very little resemblance to what Katz’s serves. As Jason has said, you need to get it Juicy (aka “FATTY”), which I know goes against every instinct many of us have developed in this health conscious age. The taste is pretty close to indescribable–having been there once with the Star of this Blog I can recall him describing it as “Meat Candy”.

    If the swirling rumors of new construction on that block are true, I pray that the OTHER rumor that the new developer building there has already offered Katz’s their same space back in the new building which results, is also true. New York needs Katz’s. The world needs Katz’s.

  4. daisy says:

    My father took my daughter to Katz’s for her first visit, because he said he wanted to be the one to give her that experience, lol. My friend Rod, who’s a chef in Portland, Oregon, takes a detour from the airport on his way to my house, to Katz’s for the chhili dogs, which he swears are the best in the world!
    I had a friend visit ffrom Australia, and I took her to Katz’s…I asked her if she had ever tried pastrami, and she said she didn’t care for it, so she ordered the corned beef…I ordered the pastrami, and ended up having to give her most of my sandwich!She said thats not what the pastrami in Australia ever tastes like!

  5. rslux says:


    I hate you Jason, because posts like this make me very homesick.

    OK, I don’t hate you. But I’m still homesick.

  6. I guess us New Yorkers are willing to put up with a lot for great pastrami, Chuck!

  7. Brad says:

    As a person born and bred in Texas, Chuck can go pound sand. There are lots of places in the southern part of this great country where good-natured rudeness is part of the experience and appeal.

    Katz’s looks like a great place, and I wonder how I’ve missed it all my life (been to NYC enough times — shame on me). Folks can argue about who has the best pastrami or whether the salami is better, but Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda is the sine qua non of a deli. It’s such an acquired taste; I love introducing adults to it for the first time and watching them wince.

    Finally, not to start an argument, as I’m sure Katz’s is in all ways superior, but if you ever find yourself in Chicago, check out Manny’s ( Same line, same tradition of servers, awesome roast beef in addition to the brisket and corned beef, matzoh ball and kreplach soup to kill for, and the most amazing mix of clientele — from cops to college kids to politicos of all stripes to owners of Chicago’s major league sports teams. You pay on your way out there too.

    Thanks for the tour.

    Take care,

  8. Doc:

    I have been to some establishments in the South that were much like Katz’s in terms of how they deal with customers — most notably Mother’s, which is of similar pride to New Orleans:

    Mothers is of course a much more simplified operation in that you have to only stand on ONE line, versus requiring multiple lines at Katz, but the vibe is a lot like it.

    Kreuz BBQ in Lockhart also comes to mind, with their “NO! WE DONT HAVE ANY GOD DAMNNED BARBECUE SAUCE!!!” treatment…

  9. =R= says:

    Jason, thank you for the mouth-watering pastrami porn. I’ve been told that the mail order from Katz’s is fantastic. While I’m sure it cannot compare 100% with eating there in person, I definitely plan on placing an order soon.

    BTW, do you know if they use brisket or plate for their pastrami?

    Thanks again, for taking us there!


  10. LindaNYCSEA says:

    Jason please tell me what time of day you took the photos since I have never seen Katz’s floor before due to the crowds!!!! Seriously, when is the best day of the week and time of day to go without being pushed around by confused tourists.

  11. We were there from 8:30PM onwards on Wednesday…

  12. Doc I’m not sure of the last time you’ve been to Mother’s, but since Katrina, they’ve been producing much higher quality food because they’ve had to try that much harder to keep everyone’s business. As have most of the so-called “Tourist” restaurants in New Orleans where chefs who had long before migrated to the front of the house have now returned to the kitchen.

    Katz is what is is, and it’s been doing business that way for a very, very long time. You either accept the way it does things — some which are infuriating — or you just don’t go. With the way that Jewish delis have been going the way of the dodo bird, you have to be willing to put up with certain quirks — because eventually, it will be gone, and we’ll be talking for our fondness for them “back when”.

    And I like Kreuz, even with its crazy “no BBQ sauce” policy that none of the other places in Lockhart do. Thats what gives these places unique character.

    By the way I’m not angry at the South or any of the legendary eateries there that have the same kind of bizarre traditions. And I’m not angry at you either, I’m not sure how exactly that came across to you. But to say that this sort of way of doing business is unique to our New York sacred cows is a bit displaced and erroneous when plenty of famous eateries all over the country have “quirks”, some of it introduced by the fact that they all became overwhelmingly popular and have had tried ways to deal with it. Katz chose to deal with it with the meal ticket, God knows how many years ago and never chose to modernize.

  13. David says:

    I hate food porn!!!

    I am now craving a great pastrami sandwich and there is nothing I can do about it!

  14. Jordan says:

    Ah, but Katz’s has THREE kinds of pickles. You have to ask for the pickled green tomatoes specifically!

  15. Jon says:

    re: Mothers: This is a place where the tourist trap label is a bit iffy. I admit I haven’t been there for close to a decade now, but I recall most of the mid-day traffic in the place being from local businessmen. At some point a lot of the foot traffic got taken over by people in the nearby convention center, but I never saw Mother’s as being on the same level of “touristy” as most of the stuff up in the Quarter proper.

    re: Katz’s: On the topic of their rules/expectations/rudeness, I personally don’t defend it, but I understand it. When a place has been where it is, and consistently successful, for a century or so, there’s no motive for them to change. And to add to that, the service they provide is now almost unique. Its far less distressing to me than people like the famed “Soup Nazi”, who are recent flashes in the pan, and have less history behind their stubbornness.

    The “customer is always right” philosophy is fine and well, but I don’t think its a uniquely Southern construct, nor do I expect its universal even in the South. It IS true that its more prevalent there though, and unwarned I could see some enormous faux pas happening at Katz’s. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. And I’d still go if I were you, Doc. A small exertion of self-control, in terms of putting up with some marginal rudeness/abruptness, is a pretty small price to pay for the culinary experience. If you must compare it to something, compare it to going to a French restaurant and being insulted there. People put up with that, don’t they?

  16. Booklyn says:

    Nice job!

    Two further suggestions: 1) Get your pastrami LAST. Who cares if the fries get a little cool or the soda gets a little warm? 2) Pay for your meal with a credit card at the take-out counter.

    Also, the “seltzer dispenser” dispenses plain old, uncarbonated H2O.

  17. Rachel Perlow says:

    A compromise for those who don’t want to deal with multiple lines and tourist jostling… Katz’s also has table service. It is a large section, clearly labled, to the left opposite the counters when you walk in. You don’t have the same direct experience with the meat cutters, but you get to experience old timey deli waiters and the food is brought to you. How civilized!

  18. Randi says:

    Its so funny, I didnt even blink or think twice about what your wrote about Katz’s Re: Their rudeness. I guess if you’re Jewish and you grew up exposed to that( as I did and I’m sure you did as well), its just a way of life. When I was in Florida last month and I ordered 4 slices of Lox at The Sage in Hallandale, the old guy at the counter actually rolled his eyes and clucked his tongue. Btw, 4 slices turned out to be almost 1/4lb for 8 bucks.

    Btw, I thought Cel-ray was discontinued.

  19. Randi: there were some production/supply issues with Cel-Ray at Canada Dry in 2005-2006, but they have since been resolved. Diet Cel-Ray is extinct, however.

  20. […] A showcase of pastrami hardcore. […]

  21. Frolic says:

    As the Southern who was just off-camera in all these shots (and who ate about half the food in the photos), I found the service pretty charming. A little brusque for sure, but the system managed to get me a sandwich quickly.

    The pastrami at Katz’s is really life changing. Seriously. It’s one of those dishes that changes a little the way you look at food. Too bad DocCuck will never get a taste.

  22. jpr54_ says:

    my first cousin,owns sage bagels-
    i just called him and told him about the comment made by the old guy at the counter-
    u can be sure that u will not be treated again like that when u order. pls visit again and mention my name-

    joanne rosen aka jpr54_

  23. […] NYC Dining: Katz’s Delicatessen (UPDATED) Click Here for Hi-Res Slide Show!  Katz’s Delicatessen Inc 205 E Houston St, New York, NY […]


  25. MJP says:

    Going past the extreme desire to troll, I’m a bit of a 2nd Avenue Deli loyalist myself. I think that in terms of tenderness and fat/meat ratio (not to mention juiciness) the pastrami there is about ten times better.

    Debates like Katz’s vs. 2nd Avenue are one of the reasons I’m so grateful to live in North Jersey, where if I don’t want to schlep, there’s a Harold’s not too far. :-D

  26. MJP: Given that the 2nd Avenue Deli has been closed since 2006, that’s kind of an unfair comparison!

    2nd Avenue Deli is re-opening in 2008 on 33rd and 3rd. So it will be the 3rd Avenue Deli then!

  27. joe esposito says:

    Ill need to shoot in and try the brisket next time I’m in NJ. I’m not sure I can skip a pastrami sandwhich, but now know I can order to go.

    my personal order is a hot dog first to eat in line. then I hit the pastrami aisle.

    jason, you motivated to look for a jewish deli in albany, and found Gershans in Schenectady. its been there for 40 years, so hopefully it will be good.

  28. […] NYC Dining: Katz’s Delicatessen (UPDATED) […]

  29. IraYavo says:

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned the biggest thing about Katz, their prices are so exorbitantly jacked up how can ANYONE afford to eat there more then once every few months. The prices are so ridiculous that it mocks the whole goddamn place. And the fact that the owners who are doing VERY well could NOT be any more like jackasses. How hard is it to smile at your customers? how hard is it to thank them for paying you INSANE amounts of money for a sandwich? How hard is it to NOT behave like a bunch of greedy schmucks? Katz is a overrated piece of NY history that is going to go the way of other delis very soon. And there’s a big reason for it, most people could care less.

  30. IHeartGarlic says:

    Sorry, Ira, but I have to disagree.

    IMO Katz’s prices aren’t out of line for NYC. And they aren’t rude either. Brusque perhaps, but it’s not the kind of place you go to for the service. You go for the deli, which is very good. Plus, unless you are a really big eater, the sandwiches are hard to eat in a single sitting — thus leftovers for another meal.

    Anyone have an opinion on their matzo ball soup? Or the Noblewurst?

    Anyone else hit Russ and Daughter before or after Katz? Though I haven’t been for a while.

  31. IHeartGarlic:

    I LOVE the Knoblewurst. Better than their hot dogs, especially if you are garlic fiend.

  32. Pan says:

    First of all, Jason, that was a fantastic report! :-)

    Now, about the prices. You’re paying a fair amount of money for some of THE TASTIEST FOOD IN NEW YORK! I do most certainly think that the sandwiches at Katz’s are worth every penny they’re charging! And yes, I surely could afford to buy a pastrami sandwich, a small cole slaw, and a Cel-Ray for $20-something more than once every few months but don’t go more often than that because the pastrami is so rich and heavy that it’s best for it to be a once-every-few-months indulgence for me.

    As for rudeness: I do not find the countermen rude. I banter with them and find them busy and businesslike but friendly, though to be honest, I’m sure that it helps that I’m a New Yorker. And I always tip at least $1 per sandwich. I’ve seen countermen give tourists lots of great service and then get only thanks, no tip. It’s not the tourists’ fault they don’t know to tip, but it sucks for the countermen, and I’m sure that when they hear out of town accents, it does occur to them that a tip may not be forthcoming.

    Jason, how did you like the chopped liver? I tried some a few months ago and thought it was really good.

    By the way, I’m flying to California on Wednesday, and I’m making sure to go to Katz’s on Tuesday night to pick up a turkey sandwich (because it’s lean, it tastes better after refrigeration) and a large cole slaw, plus a side of pickles, of course, for the flight. While I’m at it, my parents have requested that I pick up some food for them and special-deliver it uptown. My fellow passengers on the plane will be very envious of me! :-)

  33. Pan says:

    Oh, I almost forgot:

    I find both the matzo ball and split pea soups good, though I prefer the split pea.

  34. Dawn says:

    Wow! I loved this entry! I have not been to Katz’s in years and had almost forgotten how delicious the pastrami is. Now I am sitting 35 miles outside the city CRAVING it! Will definately be making a trip into the city this week. Thanks for your wonderful blog and fabulous photos!

  35. “Jason, how did you like the chopped liver? I tried some a few months ago and thought it was really good.”

    I’m not a chopped liver fan. Rachel ordered it!

  36. Paul says:

    Hey Doc,

    Take your hatred for anything Northern and keep it in the deep south where it is welcome. The South and its so-called niceties are a false front for being rude to someone’s face without having the guts to be direct and accept the consequences. In the South, they’ll appear to be acting nicely and in fact be insulting you.

    At least in NYC, a person is man enough to stand behind their true feelings and willing to debate their position with you. Rather, you are a self-depracating jew without the insight to recognize it, and I doubt you have the balls to survive in NYC. Let your wife do the visiting. Stay in Houston and enjoy your; what are they known for??? Oh yeah, poor city planning.

  37. Paul says:

    I almost forgot!

    Katz is the best Pastrami anywhere, bar none. I went to NYC for the first time in many years and went to Katz’ Deli to enjoy the Pastrami.

    By the way, nobody was rude in any way. it was a grweat experience all around. But Doc thinks because the signs say “got it” the place must be rude. Stay in houston Doc. Got it?

  38. Mike Adler says:

    Love this store years a go would go out of my way and stop in and get a qnubawurst and rye bread and the Garlic would kill me but I loved it. A New York Tradition. Living in Florida and missing stopping in.

  39. allen ozer says:

    Hello Kaze’s deli,I am now 71 year old now, I remember when Katz’s was in the middle of the block before it move to the corner location.I also remember all the old ower that own Katz’s.I remember the ower give out the tickets to the peoples that came to injoy a good deli sandwich. My dad and I ate many time in Katz’s and injoyed every bite of the sandwich.I amsorry to say that I don’ live up in N.Y.C. I now live in Florida and cant get a good dile sandwich.
    Allen Ozer [ the seltzerman]

  40. Jeff Golub says:

    your pictures and descriptions have my mouth watering for a Katz’s pastrami sandwich. I’ve been in Los Angeles for 40 years now and still remember my MANY katz’s visits fondly. When in Los Angeles try Langers deli. Although it’s in a “bad” neighborhood our new subway stops 1/2 block away and the sandwich is pretty close to Katz’s quality, in fact the bread which has an EXTRA crispy crust might even be better!!!

  41. Steve says:

    Great review!
    My choice for the best sandwich or any kind of food for that matter continually changes, as I may get a craving for the crappy Quickie-Mart poor-boy or the high-end Katz deli type, but it is the sandwich that satisfies that is the best at that time. If I want a something and I can’t find or decide on a particular establishment that is when I will try something new, attempting to not have any expectations in regards to similar establishments. Sometimes this can be difficult, as regional or local tastes can vary how a particular sandwich is built.
    I find it ridiculous how narrow minded and critical some individuals can be about any popular establishment that serves great food. Everyone remembers food served by our parents that we didn’t like when we were children, and some of their rules. Yet, as time went by, we grew to like and even love some of these foods and embrace those rules. An establishment’s rules and prices are much the same way. You may be shocked at first, but understand why they charge what they do after eating there, and any rules that you may find strange or rude are just part of the experience that makes a visit to that establishment unique. To those that don’t understand this concept, continue to enjoy your limited scope, but ask yourself this the next time you’re out: How did I come to like this place to begin with?


  42. Paul Rock says:

    NO DELI IN THE WORLD COMPARES TO KATZ’S, NOT STAGE DELI. NOT THE OLD SECOND AVE, NOTHING. My wife and I eat there one night each week. We order one pastrami sandwich and one knoble and we share. I GO HOMECOMPLETELTY FULL AND SATISIFIED.



  43. Giorgio Masini says:

    Thank You Jesus for Katz.
    I pray to God that Katz opens a place in The Villages, Florida.
    An Italian hooked on Jewish food.

  44. Rob Fox says:

    Thanks Jason, nice review. BTW check out Katz’s web site, it’s very informative and entertaining. Also your comment about the knishes and Yonah Shimmel’s is right on the mark. I am the son of three generations of kosher NY butchers with historic ties from the supply side to delis throughout the five burroughs. Forty years ago Sunday morning trips to the lower East side for shopping on Hester St plus the most important stops such as Ratner’s for lox/eggs/onions with plates of onion rolls, appetizing at Russ & Daughters, knishes at Yonah’s, pickles at Gus’s, dozens of bulkas and bialys at Kossar’s on Grand and of course my favorite pastrami at Katz’s (beating out 2nd Ave and Carnegie, Stage, etc.). are among my most cherished memories. When I moved out of NY six years ago after 911 I fought to help several of these establishments develop their mailing service to displaced patrons such as myself now living in the gastronomic wasteland known as Tampa. Katz’s and The Pickle Guys (successor to Gus’) have provided excellent service and product quality/presentation. The shipping makes it pricey but maintaining the connection is priceless. BTW thanks for the tip on the Noblewurst I have never tried it but Katz’s hot dogs are superior in every way to anything else you can buy. They are flavorful and less salty than all others.
    And the natural casings always snap when you bite them. Munch on my foodie brothers.

  45. Yarro says:

    I almost hate to admit this amidst all you pastrami fans, but I’ve always been partial to corned beef. And the way I came by it was eating corned beef Reuben sandwiches at Katz’s some 45 years ago. Nothin’ better!

    I’d like to second the comment that Cel-Ray is an acquired taste, but it sure is worth the effort. The Dr. Brown’s of today just doesn’t seem the same as when I was 10, but it’s still my favorite soft drink. Come to think of it, Katz’s has changed a bit since then as well. Perhaps it’s just my imagination gone ’round the bend, but I seem to remember sawdust on the floor…

    Anyway, haven’t been in NY for a good many years now. But as I’ve lived in some twenty-odd cities around the country since then, I can say that in my experience only one deli compares to Katz’s in NYC – and that’s Katz’s here in Austin – by far the best all night eatery in town. Terrific Reubens and great cheesecake! As I understand it, Mark, the owner, is one of the son’s of the NY family. And I can tell you this, the wait staff couldn’t be friendlier, or more professional!

    Oh, and DocChuck – you truly are a horse’s ass. But having lived in Texas three times over the past twenty-five years I know that all native Texans consider Houston to be a suburb of Hell. You have my sympathy, if not my respect.

  46. Wally Stern says:

    This presentation brought back many fond memories. I ate there many times and enjoyed it all the time. I wish there was a deli like Katz’s here in Ft. Lauderdale where I live.

  47. Dan Klang says:

    I have been going to Katz’s foralmost 60 years
    Now live in SoCalif and do miss it
    I remember the old man sitting at the ticket issuing machine and handing out the tickets — always worried about whether he might one day fall off the stool

  48. DanP says:

    What a great mouth-watering review! Fantasic photos and comments! I agree theat Katz’s has the best pastrami hands down. BTW, there’s an amazing place for Bialy’s not too far east of there, just south of Houston… I heard it was closing down… know anything about that (sorry I forgot the name)?

    Though it’s not a Jewish deli, if you’re ever in the SF Bay Area, you must try Bo’s BBQ in Lafayette (just east of Berkeley). It’s Southern/KC style. The brisket is the specialty, but everything is great, and the beer selection is unbelieveable! The owner, Bo, is just a sweet cat too, full of love of everything in life!

    On the diversity of opinion of service:

    As a native Northern Californian, and though I’m not a Southener, I can identify with DocChuck’s apprehensions with treatment at Katz’s. I think it’s beautiful that we have so many subcultures in the States… I mean, the States are huge, and you get to experience a lot of different attitudes and values, without even having to go through customs! In my opinion, service in the south, west, and midwest is better, on average, than many places in the northeast (primarily urban), in the traditional sense of being treated in a way that you as the customer are left with the feeling that the establishment is thankful that you chose to visit them. But when visiting Katz’s (or many places in NYC for that matter), the experience is different.

    To me, it’s not that the experience at Katz’s is intended to be disrespectful of the customer, but rather that the respect to the customer comes via the quality of their product and their efficency to serve all cusomers as quickly as possible (super important in a crowded place). The ticket deal is kind of a throwback to a different era… pretty nostalgic if one chooses to see at as such. As a West Coast transplant, the vibe in all of NYC was a bit of a shock shock to me at first, but I soon grew to recognize that it wasn’t personal at all – just about getting you what you want as quickly as possible.

    I’ve been living in NYC for 9 years, and I love it. I think that when one is experiencing a new city or a new place within a city such as Katz’s, maybe it’s best to go with someone who knows the ropes… All the better to enjoy the native’s experience. Just as I would totally want you to see Katz’s as I see it by taking you with me, DocChuck, I would want you to recommend your great places in Houston and let me know the insider’s view!

  49. Lester E says:

    Boy do I remember Katz Getting a salimi overseas was a great day I REMEMBER also eating at Katz was atreat Lester E

  50. Karen S says:

    For Wally in Ft. Lauderdale – try Pastrami King on University just south of Commercial. While not in the same league as Katz’s they’re not bad. Also TooJay’s is good. And if you think Ft. Lauderdale is a wasteland for good Jewish deli, try living here in Las Vegas. There isn’t a decent deli and that includes the Stage and Carnegie stands they have on the strip. I still have a craving for tongue on rye with a sour pickle and a kasha knish.

  51. Jim says:

    My wife & I have gained 5 pounds just looking at the photos!
    Also; when we order brisket at Rudy’s Barbecue in Round Rock, TX (Austin burb), we always get the “moist”.
    Many thanks!

  52. harry levine says:

    a Peruvian union copper miner makes $9.00 per day in killing work.At $22.00 per pound,a thick pastrami sandwich and a toothpick equals 2-1/2 days slavery and all of his gross pay.At that rate it would be impossible for him to avoid starving to death.For most of the earth’s folks, Katz is overpriced It is truly a sandwich for which to die— literally!

  53. nanette harmatz says:

    as the grand daughter of harry tarowsky, one of the original partners, i was pleased to see this email. he would however, not be happy by calling this a jewish deli and seeing a sandwich with cheese on it, nor the display case with cheese cakes. he always kept it kosher style, meaning it was a deli restaurant with no dairy being served. to me this was the best deli in town, and in my heart it still is. he got his meats from a wonderful supplier, and cured them. he never made salami, but still hung them to dry, and i know that is the same way today. so please do not spoil this wonderful institution with false info on it. do not show sliced meat with excess fat on it, either. and if you are to ever show any wall of famous people on it, do pay tribute to the original katz boys: benny katz, harry tarowsky and willie katz.

  54. paris221966 says:


    THIS place is a MUST when visiting NYC for the first time. The brisket sandwich and the philly look just as good as the pastrami but I definitely will try the juicy over the lean. Thanks for all of the helpful tips!


  55. patti says:

    Paul, why bless your heart.

  56. Ric Stern says:

    This really did bring back memories for me. As a young man, my Dad, Wally Stern, used to take me to Katz Deli when we visited my orthopaedic surgeon. I would never have looked forward to visiting the doctor had it not been for Katz. You may ask why was this so special to me. It was special because it was the little precious time that I spent with my Dad growing up doing something we both really enjoyed…EATING!!! I now live 14,000 miles away in Perth, Western Australia and miss my Dad very much. Everytime I think of a cornbeef on rye at Katz’s deli, I think of the times my Dad & I had there. Thanks very much.

    Kind regards,
    Ric Stern

  57. Ric Stern says:

    If only you could open one in Perth, Western Australia. That would be the ultimate. Nobody in this part of the world even know what a real corn beef on rye tastes like. I’m a former hotelier, restaurateur & cabaret owner. I know what I’m talking about. What a treat for the most isolated capital city on the planet. Incidentally, they’ve never tasted a real New York Bagel either. Waht are thoughts?

    Kind regards,
    Ric Stern

  58. gisèle says:

    C’est renverssant, énorme. Jamais vu un tel spectacle de débauche de viande, omelettes, fromage fondu( sur la viande…). Je suis végétarienne et ce que j’ai vu me confirme dans mon régime sans viande. Trop de protéines, trop de gras. Je comprends mieux pourquoi aux USA il y a tellement d’obèses. Et le poisson?Sans rancune?

  59. Karen S says:


    H&H Bagels deliver worldwide. They are based in New York City and you can order bagels and bialys. The web site is They ship overnight in the states, but I don’t know how long it will take to get to Perth.

  60. Ellen Grove says:

    I feel as if I was weened on Katz’s deli. That’s because my late father serviced their refrigeration and air conditioning for many years. As a young child in the 1950s and early 60s I’d often accompany him
    on weekend service calls to the store where the staff would make sure to overfeed me.

    And it was their food that my folks served at my 1972 Brooklyn College graduation party in 1972.

    Now I’m in Raleigh, NC where there are no Jewish delis and loads of transplanted Northeasterners
    and Midwesterners who miss REAL pastrami, corned beef, etc.

    PLEASE send pickles!!

  61. Seyp says:

    It’s a cime to show these pictures to people who are not permitted to eat that delicious
    looking food.I can actually taste and smell them.

  62. quiverring quim says:

    Thank you all for making me go downstairs a make a sandwich at 10:30 in the morning. And all I have is chicken. Time to cross the Hudson and get my fix.

  63. Lenny Oshen says:

    When I attended NYU School of Commerce, Katz’s Deli was a Thursday ritual.
    My Fraternity, Phi Lambda Delta, would come down as a group, after out meeting on Thurday and partake in all of the delicacies. My favorite was the Postrami Club, a side of potato salad and a coke. I can taste it now.

  64. Lenny Oshen says:

    I remember coming to Katz’s after our NYU, Phi Lambda Delta fraternity meeting and devouring the Pastrami Club, before they had waiters

  65. Sam Breidner says:

    Katz’s Deli was the place I took all my friends who visited NYC and could never have the thrill of a real Deli back home. When I went to NYU’s School of Commerce, it was our once a week dining experience! It’s a shame it has passed from the scene. Now that we live in the Myrtle Beach, [SC] area, a Katz’s Deli would do for this area what Juniors did for Miami……….Rarely does one ever meet a person who was born and raised in this area. We’re all from the Northeast………..and the population here is growing – very fast.

  66. Ada says:

    The pics & review were fun. Actually, it looked like the crew were no longer Jewish so it’s not the religion but the region, I guess. A native New Yorker, I now live in MD. I do however say, you can take me out of N.Y. but you can’t take N.Y. out of me. I do think it is sad that delis are dying. And for this whole experience and discussion there is a wonderful Hebrew expression, (which rhymes in the original): “For taste & smell you can’t debate. ” Taste is a personal thing but I have enjoyed the comments as well as the article. If you figure how many meals you can get out of an order, the prices are not so crazy. And how much is gas, movies, real estate, etc. ? And how lucky are we that we have the freedom to vent our opinions & even know about this food & quantities? There are whole populations that can’t even imagine so much food.

  67. Ada says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that my father always stopped @ Russ & Daughters to shlepp a “care pkg.” down for us. It is a memory that my children will always have of their grandfather. Memories are made of this.

  68. Doug says:

    Well now that my mouth is drooling…..Please hold I need to get a towel. Last time I was there was 1987 I was 19 years old and was the only jew in a group of 4 who had never been to a REAL JEWISH DELI. What an experience in eating. Once day I will take my kids there cause in Miami nothing compares to it. Thanks for the pics and post.

  69. Pan says:

    Gisele, vous avez tort. Katz’s n’est pas un cafe typique des Etats Unis. Vous n’avez pas compris. C’est pour la plupart des gens un lieu d’occasion et de celebration. On ne peut pas expliquer l’obesite’ ici en reference de Katz’s. Et n’est-ce q’uils y ont pas des charcuteries en France, en tout cas? Restez vegetarienne, et laisser plus de magnifique pastrami pour nous.

    (Explanation to those of you who don’t speak French: On August 15, Gisele described the huge spread of meat and other items at Katz’s and said she now “understands better why Americans are so obese.” Total misunderstanding and nonsense. I did my best to explain in French that for most of us, Katz’s is a place to go occasionally for celebration, and it’s certainly not a typical American eatery. We might as well say that it’s no wonder if alcoholism is increasing in France because they drink so much great Champagne.)

  70. Pan says:

    Mr. Levine,

    What about Katz’s made you think of a Peruvian copper miner? Couldn’t you make the same comment about almost any report about almost any American eatery on any food-related site? We all know there are inequities in this world, but I don’t see how the cost of a pastrami sandwich is really relevant to a Peruvian copper miner. It’s not like if the pastrami at Katz’s cost less, it would benefit that worker.

    You’re reminding me of a story my mother told me about something she did when she was a kid. Her mother always told her to “Eat all the food on your plate because there are children starving in Europe.” One evening, she found my mother stuffing food into an envelope. “What are you doing,” my grandmother asked. “I’m sending the food to the starving children in Europe.” My mother got in trouble, of course, but her point was made. And now, I submit, so is mine.

  71. Sonya says:


  72. Bob R says:

    As a New York City native, now living in Arizona, your photos and comments re: Katz’s Deli took me back.
    A very disappointing trip to Austin, Texas was made memorable by a visit to “Katz’s Deli West”, supposedly owned by a Katz son, Mark. The meat they were trying to pass off as Deli food was a travesty.
    A few of us who knew New York were shocked that a sphisticated(?) Austin crowd accepted it.
    One trip was enough to make certain that I never again expected more than mediocre from any Deli if it wasn’t Katz’s.
    Bob in Tucson

  73. Sam Wechter says:

    I was part of a group of 11 Giant fans (these were the days of Carl Hubbell, Hal Shumarker and Mel Ott).
    We would meet at Katz’s every Saterday night, discuss our dates and the NY Giants. I’m the only one left,
    I do not live in New York anymore. But if I’m in the Neighborhood, I still go to Katz’s and reminise. Oh where did those years go.


  74. brings back memories of eating wonderful jewish deli

  75. […] which I don’t include in the same league). The other famous Jewish delis, such as Katz’s, The Carnegie, Sarge’s and The Stage, lack Kosher certification, even though they might serve […]

  76. STEVE in PERTH says:

    After reading your Katz Article i so wanna move to New york and claim Refugee status from Dulls ville LOL.
    I still have not found where to buy Knishes in Perth ( which was my original search lol)
    Well Done

  77. […] Corned Beef sandwich, and I may even have to downgrade that dozen to less than a handful, including Katz’s, 2nd Avenue Deli (which re-opened in 2008 in a new location) , Carnegie, The Stage, Sarge’s […]

  78. […] still left in this country, let alone the New York/New Jersey metro area. In New York City’s Katz,  2nd Avenue and the Carnegie are perhaps the most well-known and somehow Manhattan is able to […]

  79. […] NYC Dining: Katz's Delicatessen (UPDATED) В« Off The Broiler Jul 10, 2007 … Terrific Reubens and great cheesecake! ….. Bob in Tucson … The other famous Jewish delis, such as Katz's, The Carnegie, Sarge's and The Stage, lack Kosher certification, … […]

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